France's Prime Minister's Name, Ayrault, is Butt of Arabic Jokes
France's new Socialist government is proving to be more 'liberal' than the Arab world can handle! Step in, newly appointed Prime Minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault. The prime minister's last name, to the Arab-speaking Middle East's dismay, sounds like a casual term for penis (in the third person possessive) in many Arabian dialects.
France's new Prime Minister elect has an unfortunate surname for the Arab world - where he would be considered linguistically as well as parliamentarily-speaking to be the 'dick-head' of cabinet.
This realisation has left some, who lost no time in relishing in the prudish Middle East's 'awkward moment' when you realize a high profile figure's name is the male sex organ in third-person singular possessive form and have to broadcast it orally (no punning intended at all) for a whole political term at least, headlining with "The new French prime minister is called Dick in Arabic".
What are the rules of decorum or fair-play here? Pronounced correctly in French, the last name "ai-roh" refers to 'his dick' in vulgar Arabic. Pronounced in proper English or bad French, the name Ai-rolt, sounded with the written "L" and "T" is a harmless foreign name (though linguistically offensive to the Francophone ear!)
A UAE-based Arabic channel has issued a memo to its reporters, asking them to refer to Jean-Marc Ayrault as “Aygho.”
The Dubai-based Al-Bayan newspaper chose to stick to his first name on its front-page headline: “Hollande Inaugurates his Mandate by Appointing Jean-Marc as Prime Minister.”
As for the French line on this potential diplomatic gaffe for the conservative ME, they would probably have had this to say - that France's colonial days in the Middle East are behind them, and is leaving 'em to it! C'est la vie!
Officially - "The French Foreign Ministry said it was aware of the issue but had no comment. The office of the French president, sounding amused, referred CNN questions to the prime minister's office, which had no comment."
What about you Arabs, or non-Arabs, any 'comment' on this poor unwitting PM's blushing Arabic audience? Use the 'Comment' space below!